Busking Adventure part II: Vienna

Updated: Mar 23, 2020

Left Prague around 11am and arrived in Vienna it was about 4pm. There was snow along the way. It looked nice, but I was worried about the weather. In Prague I was told to ‘bring an umbrella’ to Vienna... but I needed it to be dry so I could busk outside. It was already 4.30 by the time I checked in to my hostel, and I saw that the Schoenbrunn palace was only a 29 minute walk away. Google was telling me, however, that the Schloß was closing at 5. I didn’t have anything better to do, since it would be dark pretty soon, so I took a chance and I walked over there.

I’m glad I did. In the pictures it looks ok, but this castle was absolutely breathtaking. I couldn’t get on the inside but I walked through the back, and they have long corridors, and beautiful gardens, statues, and a Huge park. The sky was so perfect with just a few clouds, and the sunset made everything look so magical; Purple and pink light shining through the clouds. It was amazing. I can’t believe people LIVED there. I think I heard it was Empress Sissi’s summer home or something. I really wanted to shoot a music video there. It would have been perfect. There’s literally no security out there. Feels like an open park. Also there weren’t THAT many people, prolly on account of that it’s winter. And it was Really cold. My fingers were freezing with my hobo gloves. I would have stayed longer if it weren’t so cold, and also I was getting hungry, so I used my trusty Google to find a good place to eat.

Vienna is known for its Schnitzel (hence Wiener schnitzel —- Get it?!) but to be honest I’m not like a Huge fan of schnitzel. I did come across an article about a cool restaurant in a cave- like basement, dating back hundreds of years, with remains from the 14th century. They serve traditional Austrian food, including Käsespätzle. Claims to be “like Mac and cheese, but better [!] ». Dude. I was already on my way. It’s downtown, only 15-20 minutes away by uBahn (by the way the metro in Vienna is probably the fastest I’ve ever experienced. 14 minutes to travel 11 stops. Not to mention how clean and reliable it is.

The place is really vibes. It’s called Zwölf-Apostel-Keller (12 apostle cellar), so you go down a staircase or two into this old stone basement, and they have gothic chandeliers (I’m not 100% sure I’m using the word ‘gothic’ properly) and lanterns featuring what I assume are the 12 apostles. It’s huge, and there was a fiddle duo playing tunes and all sorts of people (kids and couples and parties and whatnot). The menu has weird items on it like “tongue” and black pudding but I knew exactly what I wanted: Käsespätzle.

It came with a few leaves of lettuce as a side dish, and it was Mac and cheese but instead of Mac it was like... let’s call it ‘dumplings’, covered in cheese, garnished with some crispy.. onion maybe? And like parsley flakes sprinkled on top. It was absolutely everything I ever dreamed of. The only downside was that it was a small plate, and when I was done, I would have easily eaten another whole plate, but I didn’t. But I was still hungry, so I had apple strudel for dessert. If you haven’t tried Viennese apple strudel, you have no idea what apple strudel is. (Ok maybe that's presumptuous. Let's say I had no idea what apple strudel is.) It was drizzled in Vanilla, and it was so soft, but not too gooey, and flakey and warm and appley and cinnamoney that I want to cry.

So I left zwölf-apostel-kellar somewhat satisfied (tbh I could have eaten more) and I went for a walk downtown. I was kind of surprised that I hardly saw anyone out and about. It was Friday evening. There was beautiful buildings and expensive stores and hotels but most everything was closed. I was looking for the busy street where all the people go to just be tourists, shop and hang. I was starting to worry that I wasn’t going to be able to find a good place to busk. Also it was cold. Too cold to play outside. I almost gave up but I kept walking, and I finally found it! Stephansplatz. So. Much. People! Wiiiide road. No cars. Just people. And shopping. Angels sang in my heart.

So I went back to my hostel, excited to come back the next morning and make some cash. My room was dark as it was already 10:30 and everyone had gone to bed. Hostels can be so weird. When I first got there I entered my room to find some nervous guy talking to himself. I don’t get a hello, nothin. And isn’t it creepy to sleep with a room full of strangers who don’t even look at you. It’s like taking the metro, but weirder because sleeping is an intimate thing to do. I’ve had some cool hostel experiences where I met awesome people, but mostly it’s just uncomfortable. Or Maybe I’m just too old for that shit. Probably that. But yeah. I slept horribly, since the dude right above me snored Loud half the night. Finally I shook the bed hard enough to wake him and made him stop. but he woke me up again later, when he got up before dawn to leave.

Anyway I was too excited to be tired. I left the hostel early to get breakfast at another joint that was recommended to me on google, called Erich. It had nothing to do with Viennese breakfast but it was 3 breakfast tacos. Soft shell, eggs & bacon inside and guacamole on the side. Super fulfilling. Then I figured I’d take a little tour downtown in the daylight before I got all my heavy gear and start busking. How beautiful Vienna is. Old classic buildings, handsome cab rides,

and I love the pretty olden time buggies lining the castle road to give ride to tourists. I came across the Sissi museum (where she lived!) so I decided to take a tour. I didn’t know much about Empress Sissi, but I remember being a child and my mom and grandmother getting really excited about her. No wonder. She was a total babe. She had amazing style.

There’s lots of pictures of her, and she lives this super elegant and romantic life. They showed us her rooms, the dining silverware, her clothes, her jewels, her letters, drawings and, we saw her actual travel cosmetics case, filled with balms and oils and cocaine (!) Back then they used cocaine for medicinal purposes, like to relieve pain or boost your mood. And it was administered intravenously (with a syringe!) They read us excerpts from her diary and told us about her life and personality. Was a really beautiful and interesting tour. So interesting how we revere the past. I almost bought a lovely black lace fan from the gift shop but I decided against it cause i feel like I’m already packed to the brim and it’s frickin February.

At the end of the tour it was already 12:30 so I went back to the hotel “quick” to get my things, and come back downtown to play some street musics for le people. At 3pm I arrived on the scene. I was so excited. The street was even more crowded than last night. I found a good spot that wasn’t too noisy, in front of a resting bench, and I just did my thing. It was so awesome. I was getting a lot of attention and people stopped to listen for a few songs. I think they really felt how excited I was to be there. What a great experience to get to play for So Many leute. It wasn’t cold at all. I was quite comfortable and didn’t even wear my gloves. I only sold 1 CD, I think because I don’t have my sign mentioning the CD price and Instagram stuff.. gotta make a new one... but yeah he gave me 20€ for it! After two hours the cops came and stopped me, but by then I was getting chilly anyway and the sun was going down. I had done pretty well already. But now I had to find a way to change all these coins.

After dropping off my things at the hostel, I decided to go for dinner, and You Know I wasn’t about to have anything other than Käsespätzle. I googled the best Käsespätzle in Vienna and I found a good review of this place ‘Wienerin’ it was kind of a fancy looking place, half bar, half restaurant. The ‘Spätzle was amazing. Just like at the zwölf-apostel-kellar. Maybe a bit bigger portion. I tried to dump some coins on the bar but they were snobs and didn't want them.

For dessert I had to try a famous Viennese cake that Sissi was a huge fan of, called Sacher Torte. I went to a confectionery downtown, famous for their Sacher. It was like walking into Sissi’s palace. Dark red velvet tapestries and upholstery, with hanging frames of nineteenth-century royal people. The service was incredible. They treated me like someone important. The waitress even offered me a magazine to read. I have to say that I wasn’t blown away by my torte. It was a bit dry.

The chocolate outer layer was ok. For 7.5€ a slice you’re paying for the experience of classy living. They Did however accept to change all my 1€ and 2€ coins, and they were very happy about it, and so was I. Then I walked into an Australian pub who gladly changed me another 10€, and McDonalds down the way took the rest, making my grand total 170€ for two hours of playing! I’m pretty sure that is my record hourly earnings. Looking at my video, I feel like I could have done even better if I had dressed the part. Like wear a more colorful coat or something. What do you think?

I booked a bus to Zagreb early in the morning this time (8) because I realize I shouldn’t use Peak 'doing stuff' hours for bus rides. By the time you get to the place, it’s already dark and you can’t do much. But then I went ahead and missed my bus, so I bought another ticket for 9.30. So here I am, riding to Croatia, talking to you. The view is gorgeous though.